Festival Focus: London Short Film Festival 2018 Preview

Posted December 8th, 2017 by Matt Turner

The 2018 London Short Film Festival bill has been announced and we’ve gone through and picked out our top 5 special events to attend. Once you’ve made time for all the new shorts you’ll need to be seeing, make sure you don’t end up missing these.

First up is a triple bill from the festival’s commissioning fund With Teeth; premiering three brand new short works from up and coming filmmakers. The screenings are all accompanied by each artists inspirations for their work; providing a valuable and exclusive insight into their creative process. Kim Noce’s Your Mothers Are Mine!, a multimedia animation exploring the bond between mother and daughter, kicks off the screening, followed by an exclusive live performance and animation from Noce expanding on the themes of the film, with musical accompaniment from Paradise Yard Ensemble. Next up is Zoe Aiano’s Imam pesmu da vam pevam; an experimental documentary about a woman who experiences trance-like states in which she believes she can communicate with the dead and predict the future, with footage and interviews spanning over a 10 year timeline.  The screening is accompanied by exclusive behind the scenes material from some of her other excellent shorts, as well as her upcoming project Krampuskopf; showcasing her talent for blurring the boundaries between art and documentary without compromising the integrity of the subject matter. Ending the event is a short from gifted up and coming Director Tash Tung entitled Unknown Pleasure; a work shown on multiple screens with the intent of exploring the multiplicity of female identity, accompanied by the main inspiration for the film; Lisa Rhodes 1978 experimental 16mm work Light Reading. Catch them Sat 13 Jan, 12:00 at ICA.

Next up is L.A. Rebellion: a showcase of work from the ground-breaking film movement that grew out of a band of young black filmmakers that studied at UCLA’s film school in the late 60s to the late 80s. The movement was concerned with creating a new alternative to Hollywood that questioned the portrayal of black people in mainstream cinema, and tackling social issues faced by the African American community that otherwise would not be portrayed on screen, often employing a innovative combination of naturalistic acting and psychological realism. The bill contains four shorts from Melvonna Ballenger, Bernard Nicolas, Don Amis and Charles Burnett, followed by a panel discussion including LSE’s Dr. Clive Nwonka. Sat 13th January, 13:30pm, Rio Cinema.

The lovely people at Bechdel Test Fest are presenting a retrospective on the Sengalese-French filmmaker Mati Diop; showcasing a selection of her dreamy shorts as well as a collection of readings and reflections on her work. The niece of the great Djibril Diop Mambéty and the daughter of jazz musician Wasis Diop; Mati is perhaps best known for her acting talent; playing Josephine in Claire Denis’s critically acclaimed 35 Shots of Rum. However, her 2011 breakout film Snow Canon proved that she was just as capable behind the camera as in front of it; a gorgeously washed out, 8mm love story about a French girl and an American babysitter, set in the Alps. Her follow up, the quasi-documentary A Thousand Suns, follows Magaye Niang, star of Mambety’s Touki Bouki, who is now a farmer in the Gamo Highlands: self-reflexivity being a dominant theme across her work, which she effectively explores in her fiction short Big In Vietnam, about a director who’s main actor goes missing from the set of her film. There is a sensual, wondrous quality to her work that simply has to be witnessed to be understood. So get down to the ICA, 6:30pm, 16th January.

Punk and Islam are not two things you would expect to co-exist in the same sentence; but Omar Majeed’s documentary Taqwacore, about the growing Muslim Hardcore Punk movement in the United States and Pakistan, showcases the growing movement of young people fighting for the right to break away from traditionalist values and follow Islam under their own interpretation. The documentary follows the progression of the scene; from its inception as a concept in a novel written Muslim convert Michael Knight, to the tour antics of the bands that took the passage as a manifesto and dared to challenge the norms. The screening will be followed by a live performance by feminist pop-punk trio The Tuts, and a panel discussion hosted by filmmaker Hammed Khan. See this in a location befitting it, Moth Club, from 7:30pm, on 16th January.

William E Jones’ controversial Tearoom is 10 years old this year, so LFF are celebrating its impact with a special screening at the ICA. The film repurposes surveillance footage of a pubic restroom captured by the Ohio police, which was devised to catch gay men ‘cruising’, and was later used as evidence to prosecute them on grounds of sodomy and public deviancy. The purpose of the film is to draw attention to a part of history that as now been suppressed and subvert the original purpose of the footage by showcasing a space without boundaries, where those who were persecuted could express themselves freely. In addition to the screening, developer Robert Yang will be showcasing a demonstration of his equally sexually explicit indie game ‘The Tearoom’ that was made as a response to the film , and he will then join filmmaker Sam Ashby and artist Prem Sahib for a panel discussion of the work, lead by Newcastle University’s Dr Fiona Anderson. Join them at ICA, 1:00pm at the festival’s end, 21st January.

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